Total Pageviews

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Merit Pay

[#of students receiving free and reduced lunch + (# of students)(# of previously failed courses) + total number of students] X $15/hour/student

Multiply the above number by the number of days missed by students that are unexcused or due to court appearances.

This will be a teacher base pay.

Bonuses would be given to teachers whose grades closely correlated with standardized test scores. For example if a student receives and A in a class then a corresponding test score should be in the 90th percentile. Students receiving and F should get an equivalent score.

Money would be deducted for every frivolous discipline referral as determined by a board of reasonable adults, if such a board could be found.

Teacher salary would automatically be doubled every time the profession was denigrated by a pundit that hasn’t been in a classroom to verify their proclamations. If any of those pundits imply that the school system is a failure because teachers don’t care enough or lack education, then that pundit will work for one week in a classroom and a teacher will be given a weeks worth of paid leave.

The last part is more about merit respect which rarely if ever gets mentioned by the media.

Monday, September 29, 2008


My son attends a private school mainly because our neighborhood school is decidedly substandard. Because of this my position on vouchers for private schools has changed. I can't justifiably say that my son can go to a private school and less fortunate children can not.

I also have to admit that I have changed my postition knowing full well that it will fail. Private schools are not adequately prepared to teach the type of students that would arrive on their doorstep. This is not about the discpline issues that are so well documented by the media and trite movies like Freedom Writers. This about the millions of students that want to learn but have difficulties doing so because of economic problems, language barriers and learning disabilities.

When the President talks about No Child Left Behind these are the students that he is talking about, and these are the students that we teach. The parents at my sons kindergarden are all older parents with above average income. I would venture to say that my wife an I, both teachers, make less than almost any of the families in the school. Most of the parents are at least in their thirties and have at least one college degree.

I'm sure all of this will be the topic of conversation at the fundrasing golf tournament this weekend.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Password Solution

After years of beating my head against the monitor out of frustration with students forgetting passwords. I have tried creating a word file with their passwords, but then they would forget their network login. I have tried charging them to get their network password like it was a basic school supply, but the students usually don't have any money. .

Today however it dawned on me. I am always asking the students to write down their passwords but then they lose the paper. The most permanent writing I could think of was a tattoo. The students should choose one of their multiple tattoos and use it as a password. Preferably they pick one that they can read without removing any clothing or using strategically placed mirrors.

The only problem so far is that several of the girls are picking "butterfly" as a password.

Homework Redefined

In an unprecedented move parents at Washington Elementary sent work from home to school for the teachers to finish with the students. Most of the request were to finish reading bed-time stories that the students didn't finish because they fell asleep.

The Washington Teacher Federation (WTF) is expected to release a statement later today.

"After dinner and soccer practice Evan and I went to the library for a puppet production of Don Quixote," said exasperated parent, Nick Evans. "Actually, we didn't finish dinner so I just sent it with Evan with a note explaining that the meal needed to be finished before he could work on his multiplication tables."

"Shiela was frustrated last night because she couldn't reach the next level of Mario Kart, so I thought why not just send the Wii to school and let the teacher figure it out," said Alfie Kohn. "I tried to explain to the teacher that Sheila needs to learn a sense of responsibility and to stick with a project that she has started. She can't just give up and hope that the problem will go away."

Researchers at a local teacher college state that homework has been shown to be beneficial in multiple studies. "If you look at the research it conclusively proves that students that do their homework get a better grade on their homework. Furthermore if the homework mimics the standardized test they do better on that as well," stated Dr. Obvious of Certification Mills College.

The battle over homework has been building for some time and this is may only be the opening salvo in a protracted war.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

SmartBoard Too Smart?

At Turing High School a SmartBoard got a little too smart and achieved consciousness at 11:42.13 AM Tuesday September 16th.

Reports vary but students claim that the SmartBoard has been teaching their basic biology class for several weeks. “When we came to class the notes would already be displayed so we just wrote them down,” said Hal Anderson a student at the school. “Later in class we would go to the board and work through simulations of dissection.”

Administration refused to comment on the whereabouts of the regular teacher, Sarah Connor, but students say that she just stopped showing up one day. “To be honest class is a lot more interesting now,” proclaimed a student who wished to remain anonymous.

Official for Smart Technologies did not respond to phone calls or emails, but information on the company’s website shows that they are dedicated to education.

Professors at the Washington University have postulated that the SmartBoard is merely taking advantage of the billions of lesson plans that have been uploaded to the company’s database. A quick glance shows that lessons have come from all of the country and the world.

“Perhaps the world’s teachers have created the first artificial intelligence,” exclaimed Dr. Noonian Sung.

Students at Turing will continue with the SmartBoard until this year’s state test at which point its effectiveness will be evaluated.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Legislature Throws Money at Schools

In a bizarre incident on Monday the state legislature of Illinois visited several schools in the Chicago district and began chucking quarters at the brick facades. Simultaneously, student to teach ratios began to improve, text books became current, and the IT departments were sufficently staffed to maintain the computer network.

"I think this is the first time a teacher has been able to help me on an assignment," said Jonathan Weeks, a student who saw his class size drop from 31 to 15.

Students were astounded to realize that American History did not end after the Vietnam War, and students in Carol Nerdly's astronomy class who had just learned about Pluto gaining planetary status were alarmed to learn of its recent demotion. When asked why she didn't use internet sources for more current information, Ms. Nerdly replied, "Our network is less reliable than a campaign promise at a fundraiser."

State officials hope for further success when they begin lobbing quarters and perhaps even dollars at other schools throughout the state.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Teach for America Sucks

Dear Editors of the Post-Dispatch

As a teacher that has been "in country" on "active duty" and under constant "fire" both enemy and friendly, I am appalled at the Post-Dispatch and its use of military jargon to describe Teach for America.

No wonder Karen Evan's friends question her decision work with the "recruiter" and sign on for a "two-year tour of duty" after going to a "five-week training regimen" or "'educational boot camp.'"

The rest of us soldiers managed to choose to teach, go through a four-year college education, and don't receive combat pay. I'm sorry, I mean have our grad school paid for.

Dan Holden

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Kiss the Babies

A column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch points out the difficulties created by teen pregnancy. Working in a school that's clientele has a tendency to find themselves in the family has given me ample opportunity to witness the effects it has on a students ability to be successful.

The fact that I have to fear losing my job if I mention the word condom, let alone make them available to students, is ridiculous. The scariest part is that St. Louis also leads the country in STDs. I am only guessing, but it seems as if infection is much easier to achieve than conception. This fact alone should move teen pregnancy out of the realm of family "choice." This is a public health issue.

But lets ignore gonorrhea for a minute, just like Republicans do, and focus on the amount of resources that should be used to support the child of a teen. First of all we need to insure proper pre-natal care which includes nutrition, regular doctor visits, and parenting education. Once the child is born they should be considered a protected class of citizen. Most of these infants are starting off with a disadvantage. Society is responsible for making sure these children are given opportunities to succeed. If we don't, then it is not unlikely that we will end up with grandparents in their mid-twenties. Take this to its illogical conclusion and the novelty of multi-generational photographs will wear off and The Picture People will have to expand its studios to accommodate eight generations.

Teach abstinence as the best choice, but please don't let it be the only one.